October 8, 2011

Protest of War Shuts Museum in Washington

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Air and Space Museum was closed Saturday after antiwar demonstrators tried to enter the building to protest a drone exhibit, and at least one person was pepper-sprayed.

A spokesman for the Smithsonian, John Gibbons, said a large group of demonstrators, estimated at 100 to 200 people, arrived at about 3 p.m. and tried to enter the museum. When a security guard stopped the group from entering, saying they could not bring in signs, the demonstrators apparently held him, Mr. Gibbons said. A second guard arrived and used pepper spray on at least one person, and the crowd dispersed.

A number of groups have been demonstrating in the city in the past week. The group at the museum Saturday included people affiliated with the October 2011 Stop the Machine demonstration, which has been taking place in Freedom Plaza in protest of war and what the group calls corporate greed. It also included protesters affiliated with Occupy D.C., which is modeled on Occupy Wall Street in New York.

Legba Carrefour, who is working with Occupy D.C., said a number of people joined the march to the museum after an afternoon meeting of the group.

A 19-year-old woman from Madison, Wis., was arrested, according to Ann Wilcox, a lawyer working with Stop the Machine. The woman paid a fine and was released Saturday.

Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith